Title: Private sector financing of marine and forest conservation
Speaker: Benjamin Thompson (Monash University, Australia)
Date: Thursday 25th April 2024
Venue: Geography West Building, room W414
The topic of the seminar speaks to research interests across research clusters of Economy & Culture and Politics-State-Space. The speaker will be based at Bangor University for research leave during this period, which also presents potential for colleagues to pursue further research discussion and collaboration after the event. A light lunch will be served from 12pm.
Abstract: Terrestrial and marine conservation remains severely underfunded, with the private sector increasingly promoted as a solution. Corporations, entrepreneurs, and investors are now redefining the role of financial capital and how it is channelled to solve environmental problems. This seminar will cover some current financing approaches for biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration, including corporate social responsibility, ecotourism, blockchain technology, and impact investing. I will scrutinise the implementation of these approaches, highlighting challenges related to an array of political, social, and institutional factors. The talk will feature case studies involving mangrove forests in Southeast Asia (Thailand and the Philippines), seafood supply chains in Australia, and marine protected areas in countries such as Kiribati and the Seychelles.
About the speaker: Benjamin Thompson is a Senior Lecturer in Geography at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. His research investigates the governance and financing of biodiversity conservation and environmental management. Focus is on approaches such as payments for ecosystem services, impact investing, ecotourism, and applications of digital technology such as blockchain to the environmental context. He evaluates the economic viability, social equity, and environmental effectiveness of these approaches, and highlights implementation challenges related to politics and institutions. He is particularly interested in their implementation in coastal and marine ecosystems such as mangrove forests and fisheries in the Asia-Pacific region. From July 2024, he will start a three-year Fellowship awarded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) on the topic of ‘Sustainable Business Models for Marine Conservation’ – and will be on sabbatical at Bangor University until then.